Blue ice in your cold drink? It means it is not safe for consumption | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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Blue ice in your cold drink? It means it is not safe for consumption

Sample surveys conducted by the FDA and Mumbai civic body in April found that 70% of the ice samples found in the city were contaminated

mumbai Updated: Oct 12, 2017 10:00 IST
Sadaguru Pandit
Separate surveys done by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and FDA had found that most ice samples collected from street stalls across 24 wards were contaminated with E Coli bacteria
Separate surveys done by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and FDA had found that most ice samples collected from street stalls across 24 wards were contaminated with E Coli bacteria(HT File)

Ice used to preserve food will now be dyed blue to distinguish it from ice that is safe to consume. The Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) has asked manufacturers to dye inedible ice so it is not used to chill drinks. While edible ice is usually made from potable water, inedible ice — often used to store products — is made using non-potable or contaminated water, said an industry expert.

Sample surveys conducted by the FDA and civic body in April found that 70% of the ice samples found in the city were contaminated.

A senior FDA official said the decision was taken earlier this month, during a meeting with civic officials and owners of ice factories. Officials said it was difficult to prevent the consumption of contaminated ice as ice meant to preserve fish and other products was being used in drinks and other food items.

“After speaking to the stakeholders, we sent a proposal to the government for approval. Once approved, edible ice will remain transparent, but the commercial ice will be dyed blue,” said Pallavi Darade, FDA commissioner.

Separate surveys done by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and FDA had found that most ice samples collected from street stalls across 24 wards were contaminated with E Coli bacteria.

Doctors said that E Coli bacteria causes diarrhoea, urinary tract infection, anaemia and even kidney failure.

Civic officials said more than 916 cases of gastroenteritis — an intestinal infection marked by diarrhoea, cramps, nausea, vomiting and fever — were reported in April, of which 97 were reported from Govandi alone.

These cases were largely due to the consumption of contaminated water and ice.

“If this proposal is approved, then it will be easier for citizens to distinguish ice meant to be eaten from industrial ice. Mumbai will be the first city to have ice of two colours,” Darade added.

However, even after the ice is colour coded, officials will still need to keep an eye on the mushrooming of ice factories during summer and the quality of water used to make edible ice.

Former FDA commissioner Dr Harshdeep Kamble told HT that the problem lies with factories and wholesale stores where ice is stored in unhygienic conditions.

“These ice factories come up during the four months of summer. They make edible and inedible ice. While our officers are trying to find these factories, they are difficult to regulate owing to the sheer number,” said Dr Kamble.